A Good, Basic Office Chair for Working From Home


The ÖRFJÄLL swivel office chair from IKEA is a good chair and good value at $49. We recently tested everything at IKEA with both male and female users. The ÖRFJÄLL stood out as the most comfortable and best value. It's a simple design that allows you mix and match seat and base colors. Assembly takes just a few minutes too. So if you find yourself on your next Zoom call sitting on a ergonomically challenged dining chair with a sore back and behind, consider getting yourself a decent office chair. Your body will thank you. 


Yamaha MSP5 Studio Monitor Review


The MSP5 studio monitor from Yamaha has been around forever and we still think it's an excellent studio monitor that holds it own against current offerings. You can still buy the MSP5 on Amazon and B&H for $279 each and if you track the price over time you can snag them on sale for $199 each. At $199 you can't beat these for value.

Yamaha initially rolled it's MSP line of studio monitors out over 10 years ago. The MSP 5 and MSP 7 were essentially the successors to the ubiquitous NS10s. The MSP5 are powered 5inch design that sit in in that sweet spot of not too big and too small for the personal home studio or video editing suite.

The Yamaha MSP5 is really clean and precise monitor with almost no coloration. Mixes take more effort to dial in and sound good. The class A amps have great transient response and punchiness to them. We actually prefer these over the Genelec 8030s in that regard. You really notice when tracking instruments of with drum machines. The titanium tweeters are slightly bright but Yamaha provides a couple db of eq via switches on the back to boost or cut the high and low frequencies.

The MSP5 is extremely well made and feels like a professional piece of gear. We love the fact that the low frequency driver has a heavy duty metal grille to protect it. The tweeter is also protected. The stereo image is beautiful and transparent. The class A amps to give off some heat but Yamaha designed a really elegant heat sink for the MSP5. We like the subtle green light in front that lets us know they're powered on and the volume control on the front is useful for slight adjustments when necessary. Generally we leave them at the nominal level.

These monitors are perfect for a video editing suite. They're shielded and just the right size to place on a small platform next to your video monitor or mount on the wall. We really like these for editing dialog and even final mixdown for documentary and story telling where critical low frequency mixing is less of a factor.

We found the noise floor whisper quiet, similar to the Genelecs and better than many class D offerings that sometimes have a significant noise floor when powered on such as the JBL 306MKIIs we reviewed a while back. We'd buy this decade old design over the brand new JBL any day. The MSP5 looks better, feels better and most importantly sounds more accurate. Notice we didn't say better. It takes more work on the MSP5 but the mixes translate well.

For many years we preferred using our passive JBLs and Hafler amp in a studio setting and sort of scoffed at powered monitors. All that changed with our first encounter with Genelecs. But quality is all over the map with powered monitors. The pro grade stuff from Genelec, KRK, JBL and Yamaha are all pretty good. We like the simple setup of going directly from the mixer to the monitor.

Genelec remains one of our favorites with a beautiful design and excellent power management. The class D amps give off very little heat and you never have to think about toggling them on and off. The automatic power of/off feature when audio signal is present works flawlessly. You can't go wrong with Genelecs. However, Genelecs cost significantly more than comparable monitors at any given size. Typically 2 to 3 times as much per monitor. Apples and Oranges to be sure but when budget matters the Genelec is a harder sell.

We would love to see Yamaha rethink it's studio monitor lineup and update the studio series with better power management, maybe class D amps. The HS series just looks and feels cheap like the JBL MKII series. We've been hearing that Yamaha has stopped making the MSP5, yet we still see plenty of stock at Amazon and B&H. We feel these monitors never got their moment in the in the sun and maybe a post Covid remix and relaunch is in order.  We hope we see another pro offering from Yamaha and the HS series is not a harbinger of the product roadmap.

If you're in the market for studio monitors for your home studio, the MSP5 still offers outstanding value and we recommend getting a pair while you still can. Give them a few days in your studio and give your ears a chance to get used to them. You may just like what you hear and enjoy a classic before we're surrounded by a sea of lightweight, cheap feeling and less accurate nosense that looks and sounds like plastic.

Learn more about the MSP5 studio mointor

Best Router and Cable Modem Combination for Distance Learning and Work


For great performance at a reasonable price we like pairing TP Link routers with Motorola cable modems. For example, the TP AC Archer C90 router with the Motorola MB8600 cable modem. This is a good benchmark to consider when shopping for a router/modem combo to take advantage of 1GB/s internet service that needs to support fast wired and wifi speeds to multiple users in an average size 3/2 home. There are myriad cable modem and router combinations out there to provide both wired and wireless connectivity in your home. "Wifi" has become synonomous with the Internet but to get the most from your connection you need a quality direct wire connection to your router and cable modem. 5G may change all that but we still have limited rollout and the system has not been taxed by large number of users. So for now, cable internet seems like the fastet solution for most people.

With and average family all using the internet at the same time, on zoom calls, uploading/dowloading, streaming, gaming..etc. We recommend the fastest connection your budget will allow. Most cable companeis offer a 1GB option and will offer a cable modem/router you can lease from them. However, buy your own gear and it's one less thing you have to pay the cable company for over time.

We've had friends asking us about Orbi and other mesh style networks and we're not convinced their worth it. We'd recommend trying a simple combo similar to this Motorola / TP Link setup and see if it works for you. If it's bought and sold from Amazon you'll have an easy time with returns. It might take some testing to see what works best in your home. Typically we find our friends are happier with simpler and reasonably priced solutions that just work without any sort of additional ongoing fee.

Test your current Internet speed
Learn more about Motorola Cable Modems
Learn more about TP Link Wireless Routers

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