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Graham, IOW

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Steven Wilson
Price: 12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Blu-ray, 29 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this album, so much so that I now own it in four formats; CD, 16 bit FLAC, vinyl and now Blu-ray. The album itself has been extensively reviewed by others, so my input regards the different formats.

Initially I bought the CD and converted it to 16 bit FLAC. This is my preferred choice for everyday listening. I enjoyed the album so much I forked out for the double vinyl version. If you can live with its various foibles, vinyl still out-shines all the other formats. I am very happy with the vinyl. I toyed with the idea of downloading the 24 bit FLAC version, but so far I have been bitterly disappointed with 24 bit downloads; all have sounded worse than the 16 bit versions. This may sound counter-intuitive, but there are reasons for this and there are many articles out there explaining this phenomenon. Years ago I had tried DVD-A. This was also fairly terrible. Was Blu-ray worth a gamble? After all, the Blu-ray version of The Raven (etc) is currently cheaper than the CD and half the price of vinyl. A good experiment, I thought. Was I impressed? Oh yes.

Played through a mid range Panasonic Blu-ray player and Pioneer receiver I was astounded. My A/V setup only uses small satellite speakers (with centre channel and sub-woofer obviously). The audio part of the A/V setup cost less than the cartridge in my main music system, but this album sounded brilliant, dynamic and totally immersive. Steve Wilson, a great band and Alan Parsons in engineering, this might be a fluke, or possibly the future for high quality recorded music?

McMxc A.D. [VINYL]
McMxc A.D. [VINYL]

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not perfect., 14 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: McMxc A.D. [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Given that my usual musical tastes run to rock and heavy prog, this is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I have had the CD (and consequently FLAC file) for ages, but I really wanted the album on vinyl.

I am not disputing the music; you like it or you do not. I like it and I thought the vinyl version would be a great addition to my collection.

I know this is a picture album and that I am supposed to see the vinyl, but that does not mean it should be badly covered and protected. The album comes in a basic clear plastic cover. This has diagonal slots cut in each corner for some reason. In my case, the record arrived with the vinyl sticking out of one cut slot. After a serious clean with a vacuum record cleaner, I found surface noise levels were not great, but better than some I have had lately. The record itself was flat; a minor miracle with some re-issues.

I was expecting a very hefty bass line, given the nature of the CD. The bass was not as deep as expected, but the detail was very impressive. I like music, but have little idea of how it is produced, but I definitely felt that I knew how this record had been put together after listening to the vinyl version.

Overall, a good piece of vinyl, but I wish it had been better protected.

Kenwood chef mixer AT338 Glass Liquidiser attachment
Kenwood chef mixer AT338 Glass Liquidiser attachment
Offered by Dynamic Deals Limited
Price: 49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best liquidiser I have owned., 28 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you already have a Kenwood Chef and you need a liquidiser, buying this is an obvious choice. I have used standalone liquidisers and had not considered this option before. I wish I had as this is brilliant. The build quality is excellent, the capacity is very good and the performance is enormous compared to standalone devices. It is also very easy to clean due to the top quality glass.

I wish I had bought this device sooner.

Craghoppers Classic Kiwi Mens Walking Trousers - Black, Long-42 Inch
Craghoppers Classic Kiwi Mens Walking Trousers - Black, Long-42 Inch
Offered by Bambooty Ltd
Price: 23.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for walking in but NOT in any way water resistant, 17 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found these trousers comfortable and smart in appearance. I agree with other reviewers that the front pockets are useless.

On buying these trousers, the most exciting part for me was the claimed 'Smartdry' technology. For me the Holy Grail of walking trousers; comfort and water resistance. Were they water resistant? Not remotely. Five minutes in rain as opposed to drizzle and they were soaked through. I'll still have to take the over-trousers with me.

Given the disappointment, they are probably nearer a three star, but for the dry I do like them. My search for the ideal walking trousers continues.

Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support, One Size, Black
Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support, One Size, Black
Offered by Comfytopia
Price: 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A very good, well priced item, 31 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very well made, simply packaged item. There are no actual instructions included and fitting is not quite as intuitive as one might think first time. However, I discovered something even better! Do a search on You tube for this product and there is a video showing you how to use their different products.

I am very happy with this item. It cannot be faulted at this price.

Pontec PondoMax Eco 11000 Pond Pump
Pontec PondoMax Eco 11000 Pond Pump
Offered by Bradshaws Direct
Price: 89.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good pump., 6 July 2013
I bought the Pontec PondoMax Eco 11000 to replace my ageing Hozelock Titan 12000. There was nothing wrong with the Titan which was still going strong after about eight years continuous use. However, my pond equipment is currently consuming 45 of electricity a month and I need to economise. The Pontec uses less than half the electricity of the Titan and should pay for itself in under a year. If this pump is a success, I shall replace my other pumps with these or Oase branded pumps.

The pump looks well constructed and is reminiscent of the older Oase Aquamax pumps, but without the directional output. The maximum output diameter is 38 mm, whereas Hozelock use 40mm. Both claim to be equivalent of 1.5 inches. This may be a consideration on some pipe work.

The lack of an angled output and lack of a handle to grab hold of made placing in the pond a little more difficult than I am used to, but no major problems.

The output is definitely lower than the Hozelock it is replacing. Yes, the Hozelock is a 12000, but it is old and I was surprised the flow was noticeably less with the Pontec. If a high output is required and you are trying to replace a like for like output, then maybe the next model up may be required.

Overall then, this appears to be a well engineered and economical pump. Four stars for now, but an upgrade to five later on if it proves itself to be reliable and economical.

Eheim Aquarium Tank External Filter Experience 250 Brand New Up To 250l
Eheim Aquarium Tank External Filter Experience 250 Brand New Up To 250l
Offered by The Aquahut
Price: 97.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Eheim's finest product, 21 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a big Eheim fan and cannot remember the last non Eheim pump, heater, filter I bought. I needed a second external filter to set-up an additional tank. I looked at the cheaper opposition, but decided to stick with a tried and trusted friend. This might have been a mistake.

Delivery was brilliantly fast. When I un-boxed the filter, I was aware it was more cheaply built than my Pro II. Not surprising it is a lot cheaper. The tubing was 12/16, not 16/22. Yes, understand that, I had done my research. Inlet and outlet were basic bent plastic, not the installation sets I am used to. Again a cost compromise. Not ideal, but fine if it all works. The trouble is, it does not really work.

I have the filter up and running, but I know I will have to buy an installation set to make it work in the long run. The tubing supplied is in two equal lengths. I would rather have had one length to cut to my requirements. As it is, one tube is stretched and the other needlessly shortened. The tubing has a tendency to kink and collapse on itself (the tubing was perfect out of the box and did not require any warming and straightening as Eheim suggest in their instructions). Priming external filters has always been a bit of an art. The Pro II has a priming device, but I always found it easier to add water through the inlet/outlet installation kit. The Eheim Experience has no such devices. Instead, you are expected to detach the spray bar from the tube, suck, and set up a syphon. Okay, did that, filled the cannister. Would it work? Not for ages. The old trick of threatening the device finally worked!

In reality, I know it is not possible to service the device in its current form. Initial priming is not only difficult, but then requires the outlet tube to be pushed back onto the outlet spray bar. Not a practical proposition.

This filter might work well in some set-ups, but not mine. After adding the cost of installation kits (which Eheim actually recommend in their instructions), the price far exceeds the opposition.

Eheim support has always been good and the build quality first class. I'm just starting to have doubts.

The Best Of Both Worlds
The Best Of Both Worlds
Price: 7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 21 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Best Of Both Worlds (Audio CD)
When Marillion first appeared on the scene, I did not buy their music as I had always dismissed them as a pale Phil Collins era Genesis copy. As I get older I now find myself back-filling my prog-rock collection and given the impressive reviews given to Marillion I thought I would give them another try.

I’m sorry to say that, in my view, they are not even a pale Genesis copy. I know the definition of prog is wide, but I struggle to understand how they are regarded to be in this genre. If I was listening to the music without knowing what it was I would almost be inclined to describe it as soft American-style rock.

Marillion are commercially successful and must have an appeal, I just don’t hear it. There is a lot of great prog out there and time is too short to listen to mediocrity. If you have heard everything put out by Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Camel, King Crimson, etc and you still crave more there is plenty to try. Porcupine Tree and Pendragon might be a good start.

In The Court Of The Crimson King [VINYL]
In The Court Of The Crimson King [VINYL]
Price: 19.43

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic album spoilt by poor pressing, 10 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The music here is not in question; a classic prog rock masterpiece. The vinyl itself is another matter. The cover is perfect and the vinyl itself looks very good on initial inspection. The album is flat and black which should sound obvious, but many newly released re-masters are grey and warped. Somehow the art of vinyl pressing is gradually being lost. This album sounds fine on the louder passages, but is wrecked by surface noise on the quieter ones.

A missed opportunity for perfection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2012 7:14 AM GMT

Nikwax Down Wash 300ml
Nikwax Down Wash 300ml
Price: 3.10 - 87.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor for waterproofing cotton or poly-cotton clothing, 3 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nikwax Down Wash 300ml (Sports)
I have used Nikwax Cotton Proof on a number of occasions without success.

I was determined to re-proof two pairs of poly-cotton walking trousers and proof another pair that had never been treated. I decided to have yet another go.

The washing machine was thoroughly cleaned and Nikwax Tech Wash and Nikwax Cotton Proof measured out in a measuring jug (the `caps' guide is wrong). First wash with Tech Wash and the second with Cotton Proof. One pair of trouser tumbled and the other two drip-dried. No difference. All had white marks on and soaked up water like blotting paper. (This would seem to suggest that the product really needs diluting before use and does not mix well in a washing machine, even though that is one of the main functions of a washing machine).

I then gave hand washing a go. My hands have never been so waterproof! Water also beaded in the sink. A quick tumble dry and there is certainly a hint of water resistance to the trousers.

My conclusion is that use in a washing machine is ineffective. As others have suggested, a product that already has some water resistance built in can be re-proofed to some degree. Hand washing was better, but I have no confidence that any of the trousers treated (whether originally water resistant or not) will resist anything but the lightest shower.

Overall a disappointment.

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