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Denon DNP-720AE Network Audio Player - Black
Denon DNP-720AE Network Audio Player - Black
Price: 204.77

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, temperamental, now dead., 4 Jun 2013
I bought one of these as soon as they came out in 2011. I had a Denon TU1800DAB tuner which was a great FM radio and even managed to make ghastly DAB transmissions sound decent. I wanted the Internet radio and AirPlay capability, whilst still being able to get god quality FM. I must be one of the few people who paid the original 427 rrp, I was that keen to get one. Initially it seemed ok, though I never thought the FM sound was quite as good as the stand alone tuner. But over the time I've had it I've struggled with the network connection whether using it wireless or wired to the router. It would persistently refuse to organise Airplay devices, or lose the network entirely or freeze. I had to keep manually resetting the network connection either way, so could never rely on it. I've since bought an Apple TV for 99 which is utterly reliable, and sounds great through an Arcam rDac. And is much easier to use, as all functions are displayed on the TV screen. AirPlay works consistently, I can stream my iTunes music without even using an iPad or laptop.

The Denon sounded good, so I would have given it three stars in lite of it's flakiness, until a few days ago. Then it dropped to two stars, because I learned that new Denon receivers and CEOL systems will be able to access Spotify, which I use constantly, directly. But no upgrade for the DNP720AE.

But the sat straw was that switching it on two days ago, it notified me that there was a software update available. There is never any info from Denon about what these updates are, but I accepted it anyway. It froze in the middle of installing, and would not respond to the remote or front panel buttons. So, having waited for an hour, I tried to reset it by disconnecting the mains. Now t's dead as a door nail and I ave a 427 brick.

I wish to God I'd kept the TU1800DAB and just added the Apple TV.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2013 3:20 PM GMT


Kachampo
Kachampo
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely album, deserves to be better known, 17 May 2013
This review is from: Kachampo (MP3 Download)
Indonesian-Australian multi-instrumentalist Tommee has put together an album of traditional sounds from his homeland. It's beautifully played and rather hypnotic.

The eleven tracks are all self-penned and sweetly recorded with supplementary western instruments including electric bass and guitar. Io Ariku heads up the CD and has a nice blend of rhythm and melody. Similarly with the following two tunes. Track 4 eases back and features the reggae-like dangdut feel so loved by Indonesians. The tile song contrasts Tommee's gravely voice with a cascading flow of notes from the zither style playing of the kecapi.

Lantika gives Tommee a chance to display his superb guitar picking, while the lazy beat on Kiri Pu Amae is hypnotic and the plucked strings ooze the blues. Moti Lembo has R'n'B sensibilities with Tommee groaning out the lyrics. A flowing harp-like crescendo introduces Soba, which has a tight bassline and a tingling solo. The final cut Kawarra Angi canters along musically with Tommee's voice deep and mysterious. More tasteful guitar shining light a beacon here.


Faure: Requiem
Faure: Requiem
Price: 9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual classical concept album., 22 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Faure: Requiem (Audio CD)
I was intrigued by this, but it works beautifully. The movements of Bach's D minor solo violin Partita interspersed with Bach Chorale settings. Then the great Chaconne with closes the Partita gently overlaid with the sung chorales which are apparently hidden within it. Beautifully done, too, the violin is never obscured. Then the final held open/stopped d' which concludes the partita segues into the octave d's which open the Fauré Requiem. Which in turn is a beautiful and moving performance. Cumulatively the effect is powerful and highly moving. Highly recommended!


Soundescapes
Soundescapes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg..., 22 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Soundescapes (MP3 Download)
...good in parts. I love some f the tracks, Tristfull which Fi Talkington recently played on Late Junction is a delight. Others, including the opening track, see, pointlessly loud and jarring. So I find myself skipping past them. Shame.


Re-Covers
Re-Covers
Offered by Hottest Sounds Around
Price: 14.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic crossover., 4 Jan 2013
This review is from: Re-Covers (Audio CD)
I'm a big fan of weird, genre-crossing music. Other faves include Dub Side of the Moon and the Bad Shepherds. But this takes the biscuit. Fantastic Tuva throat and overtone singing with a good fusion of traditional and pop backing. Highlights include Back Magic Woman and Love Will Tear Us Apart. This guy's voice is fantastic; makes Tom Waits sound like a pussy.


Genesis Revisited II
Genesis Revisited II

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me listen to old favourites with new ears., 14 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Genesis Revisited II (Audio CD)
An unexpected pleasure this. Absolutely first rate versions of some of the classic Gabriel/Hackett era songs. Pretty faithful to the originals, like top notch performances of you favourite classical works. Just enough titivation to give them a bit of a lift. Highly recommended to a sad old Genesis fan like myself. New versions of The Lamb and Supper's ready are particularly fine.


AKG K550 High-Performance Closed-Back Reference Class Headphones - Black
AKG K550 High-Performance Closed-Back Reference Class Headphones - Black
Offered by Superfi
Price: 99.95

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge, but fantastic, 24 Mar 2012
Picked up a set of these after they won a group test in What Hifi. They're huge, each earpiece is not much smaller than a CD, but extremely comfortable. And they do sound superb. Everyone recommends open back headphones, but I can't se the point as they leak so much sound. I've always bought Sennheisers til now, and have accumulated about nine pairs including a pair at about the same price point as these (HD580's). But I hardly use them because, a). The 600 ohm impedance means they're very difficult to drive, even with a dedicated amp and, b). they leak so much sound that my wife keeps on asking me to turn the music down when I use them. The reason these are so big is that they have 5cm drivers, which means they sound fantastic, and earpads about 2cm thick all round, so they really seal in the sound. But they don't sound boxy and closed in at all. It does mean they keep the sound in and I can listen to my rather eclectic music music collection LOUD when there are other people in the room. I can also use them plugged into my hifi, where they make the most of my rather good CD player and amp, and are equally happy working with an iPod or iPad. They make an iPod sound good, but if anything show up the ipod's DAC. They're also very well built. All in all I recommend them highly!


Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the preview for this, but..., 11 Mar 2012
...I'll actually buy it when the Kindle price comes down to something reasonable! 9.99 for the kindle edition when the paperback's only about 5 is utterly outrageous!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2012 2:26 AM BST


Nokia Lumia 800 Sim Free Windows Smartphone - Matte Black
Nokia Lumia 800 Sim Free Windows Smartphone - Matte Black

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely phone, great OS, I even ditched the iPhone., 22 Nov 2011
I'm a lover of all things Apple and had been running iPhones for the last few years, as well as having an iPod Touch and a Macbook. However I've found myself getting more and more frustrated with iPhone's dull, grid interface and poor phone performance. They're also ludicrously expensive in terms of up front cost and lack of minutes. I was very impressed with the flexibility and performance of my wife and son's Android phones; at least you can customise the interface and have widgets on the home screen. However I was very taken by the previews and early reviews I saw of the Lumia 800, and once I had a chance to physically handle one in Carphone Warehouse I was sold. So I ordered one on the day it was released and ditched the iPhone.

Some people have criticised the specification; 3.7" screen, no front facing camera, single core processor. I have to say I miss none of these. I find the latest generation of big phones, like the Samsung Galaxy IIs, ludicrously big, whereas the Nokia fits beautifully into the hand. The screen may be smaller than some, but is beautifully clear and vibrant because of the AMOLED display with real deep blacks and vibrant colours. In spite of the iPhone's retina display it looks washed out in comparison with the Lumia. I also don't miss the iPhone's front facing camera, as I hardly ever used it. And because Nokia have entered into partnership with Microsoft to produce their new WIndows Phone handsets, hardware and software are beautifully integrated and work seamlessly. As a phone OS, Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) is much easier to use than iOS because of the large, colourful live tiles, though it's rather different to both iOS and Android and takes a little getting used to. I think it's the best thing Microsoft have done.

Physically the phone is lovely, curving nicely into the hand, and with a slightly curved and virtually seamless glass screen. The body itself is seamless, flawlessly made and pleasingly different to the slabby iPhone and Android handsets. It comes with a skin-type case which seems identical in colour and texture to the phone itself, adding useful protection without changing the appearance or adding much bulk. I always found the iPhone 4 a bit hard edged and uncomfortable. The Nokia's also better as a phone, easier to use and holding on to it's signal better. You even get Nokia drive, a very serviceable and useable, if basic, Satnav. I also love the way Mango integrates your personal, Facebook and Twitter contacts

The only reasons it only gets four stars is that, a). the battery life is not as good as the iPhone 4, though about the same is the iPhone 3. You'll be putting it back on charge in the evening if you use it heavily during the day. I just make sure I put it on to charge in the car when I'm driving. And, b). the Windows Phone Marketplace is not so well stocked as those from Apple and Android, though I've been able to find equivalents of most of my favourite apps. I'm sure this'll improve rapidly.

Don't get me wrong, I still love iOS for handheld computing and intend to buy an iPAD, but as a phone I prefer the Lumia
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2012 2:49 AM GMT


RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
Price: 29.95

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly listenable and amazing value for money., 6 Aug 2011
I have about 8 pairs of Sennheiser Headphones scattered around the house which I've acquired over the years, from a pair of big HD580's to some CX500's I use with iPhone and iPod Touch. The Reid and Heath Ear Buds got a rave review on the Reg Hardware website and they ran a competition to win a pair. I didn't win, but they sent out a promotional code to get 20% off on Amazon, so I thought what the hell and had a punt for 24.

Well, they're superb! Very musical and natural, and decently loud, so you can crank your iPod up to a good volume. The CX500's are perhaps a little more analytical and open, but there's something about the RHA's which makes them superbly listenable. The sound has good body and bass has a real kick to it (in a good way). As a result I've found myself listening to them for hours at a time, just for the pleasure of hearing my music collection through them. That's the measure of a good piece of audio equipment; I found myself doing the same when I bought a really good (NAD Masters) CD player earlier this year. But that was a four figure investment; these are thirty quid. Amazing.

I have only two tiny quibbles. 1). it's very difficult to see the moulded L and R logos on the stems to get them the right way round. 2). The braided fabric cable feels nice, but still seems to get very tangled when you curl up the cable in the supplied bag.

I'm going to be buying the more expensive 850 full size headphones, which are still only 50. I would love to hear what Reid and Heath they could do at a higher price level!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2012 11:44 PM BST


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