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J. Curtis (UK)

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Pioneer XCHM81 Wireless Networked Micro System with iPod Dock (Black)
Pioneer XCHM81 Wireless Networked Micro System with iPod Dock (Black)

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars XC-HCM81 Pioneer, 7 Feb 2013
Well, having bought a lot of items from Amazon over the years and having always appreciated product reviews, (but never bothered to contribute my own) this is my first review which goes some way to say how excellent this product is. My Wife and myself wished to replace some ageing Arcam kit we bought 15 years ago but could not stretch to that budget again (have had a few kids since then!) but as we are using iTunes for media storage on a Buffalo DLNA NAS wished to still buy CD's but actually listen to music stored via the NAS more frequently. Wow what a superb sound! Now it does not quite have the clarity and warmth of our Arcam kit, but the functionality is outstanding. I connected our ageing speakers (Audio Innovations book shelf), plugged in the ethernet from the router and bingo, it picked up the NAS straight away, no fuss (except for having to update firmware on the NAS). Downloaded the App from the App store and we were navigating music straight from the NAS in minutes. The AirPlay works brilliantly and sounds great either from the laptop or from an iphone (both 5 and a 4S) and an iPad (3rd gen). What is really cool is browsing other music in the iTunes store and listening via Airplay. We also wanted to listen to talks from conferences and this works flawlessly from an iPhone and iPad (have not tried from the laptop). Plus, the internet radio is superb and the favourite stations feature is a bonus.

We actually bought ours from a Sevonoaks store (Reading) and they were superb as we spent a while comparing this to the ageing Marantz 603 - the Marantz sounded better balanced but was less warm (and an old model, 2 years old) but the functionality of the Pioneer and sound for us won through (I did have specific instructions from my wife that it must be easy to use, and she agrees!).

Only negatives are that there is no optical input (most modern TV's have optical out) so we use the RCA analogue line in) and the remote control is awful. The ergonomics are all wrong and it's way too crowded. Another niggle is the lack of EQ setting. The preset EQ's are OK, but we have found that the 'PBass' 'on' provides a warm sound, but it's a shame that there is no 'direct' feature. The sound of Jamie Cullum, Jack Johnson and female vocalists sound amazing (even in MP3 format over the NAS) but some rock, U2, Muse can sound a little muddled. The volume is wide ranging enabling the unit to be played quietly but clearly.

So to conclude, the functionality is excellent, Sevonoaks were excellent, the sound is great, we are enjoying music again (online, streaming via multiple devices) and really liking the convenience of the App so handy on your phone - music really at your finger tips! I hope you find this helpful. PS. our system is used in a medium sized lounge with the usual sofa's etc.., speakers are on stands (were not mega expensive when new) and standard speaker cable has been used.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2013 3:57 PM GMT

Digital Exposure Handbook
Digital Exposure Handbook
by Ross Hoddinott
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning, this will improve your photography technique!, 14 Nov 2008
This book is a must if you are serious about developing your photography technique. The style builds on from Ross's other publications, with the format being informative, encouraging and enlightening. This book, like his others, gives the reader an immediate 'surge' of creativity and desire to reach for the camera bag! The size is particularly useful as it can easily be placed into a bag and read 'on the go', whilst also being laid out in a fluid and informative manner for detailed reading. The images continue to prove that Ross is an outstanding photographer, who as ever, is keen to see others develop their technique.

Digital Macro Photography
Digital Macro Photography
by Ross Hoddinott
Edition: Hardcover

74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant, creative and inspiring, 21 Jun 2006
Usually I find photography books leaving me rather deflated about my own ability... However not this book. Ross's first book is a real hit. It has many excellent ideas, points of encouragement and is inspirational. The layout is clear, precise and rich in content with text that is informative and not self indulging. Simply put - get this book as it will improve your photography technique, inspire you to go out (even in the cold months!) and looks great on the coffee table too! JC

Burn Out
Burn Out
Offered by Amtrak123
Price: £12.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!, 26 Nov 2002
This review is from: Burn Out (Audio CD)
Burn Out is an excellent example of Cathy Burton's talents as a song writer and energetic performer. This is both an album that rocks but is also mellow and relaxing- Cathy's voice is simply electric! It's difficult to choose a favourite track, but track 4 'The fuss' is rather chilled and track 9 'To say you love' is storming and moving. If you like your tunes to have meaning and be more than background music, then this is an album that you cannot miss! It has similarities with Dido, Fiona Apple and a quality like Tracy Chapman!...BR>Jonathan Curtis November 2002

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