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Steve Gad "Gad" (England)

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC DVD)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £11.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for an immersive game. Step this way!, 5 Feb. 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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What can I say about Skyrim that hasn't been the subject of a million web sites, discussion forums and game reviews. Put simply, if you're looking to while away many(many) hours, fully immersed in a world that is almost as alive as the real world, then this is where you should be.
Once you have the game, set it up so that to walk you use the [ and ' keys for forward and back, and the ; and # keys for side to side. This leaves your thumb hovering over the right Alt key - set to "Use object" - and with the mouse to handle looking around in general you're good to go - almost.

Go onto steam and get a boat load of Mods that make an already brilliant game really leap out of the screen. I have been playing this game for several hours a night since Xmas and have not even scratched the surface of it. This is mainly due to the fact that you can go ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME with no limits. If - like me - you want to walk around from the beautiful sunny valleys, up to the frozen wastes of the north, simply admiring the scenery and picking herbs, there is nothing stopping you. If you want to battle everything that looks your way, then go ahead. Want to make friends? Enemies? Hunt aniamls? Make things from their pelts, forge weapons made of the very iron ore you mined yourself earlier in the day? No problem.

There is so much to this game that I shudder to imagine where we will be in 20 years from now, with game technology this good already. What other game can you think of where you can stand on a cliff top, and drop a wooden bucket onto a grizzly bear, minding its own business far below you? Said Grizzly may then try to find a route to where you are (and tear you to shreds) or it may simply look up at you, then decide you aren't worth the effort. Put in the Mod "Prides of Skyrim" and you instantly have even more reason to plan routes between towns with a little more care, on account of the pride of lions occupying that nearby rock outcrop.

Walk into any one of dozens of towns and hamlets, buy food, share a meal, give a beggar a gold coin (or bottle of beer) sit and listen to the Bard singing songs, visit a few shops to stock up on arrows, food, potions, cures, clothing, weapons and simple local gossip, then make your way back to the tavern and book a room for the night. A few more tankards of mead, then to bed, ready for a new day.
You really won't be disappointed by this game and if you're one of the few who are not familiar with it (and it is you I'm writing this for) then go ahead and buy this game. The only word of caution I can give you, is that you will need to set aside a LOT of free time as this game just keeps you coming back for more, time and time again!

Sennheiser HD201 Closed Dynamic Stereo headphones
Sennheiser HD201 Closed Dynamic Stereo headphones
Price: £16.69

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard wearing with good sound., 5 Feb. 2013
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I must have been sent a different model to the ones the rest of the people in here are reviewing. I bought these for my studio, as a cheap alternative to risking destroying good cans, when I came home from a gig (often the worse for drink) and wanted to lie around in my chair listening to music or watching music videos. I frequently fall asleep wearing headphone and its not unusual for my to wake up sat on them, or having rolled on them. It's even less unusual for me to send them crashing to the floor (or onto the steel feet of my swivel chair) and then having my feet on them all night. I'm a working musician and my instruments and equipment are not ornaments to be polished and placed in padded flight cases after each use, as many do. I'd never get anything done if I did so. I normally buy dependable, robust gear, but these were for special use and they far exceeded expectations.

The picture I am trying to paint is simply this: I bought these thinking they would be good for a month or so, sparing the lives of their big brother's in the process. Two years later and they are still the phones I put on when I come home at silly hours (the worse the drink etc) they are still crashing to the ground several times through the night, still being sat on, rolled on and thoroughly (although unintentionally) abused, beyond the call of duty.

They are on my head 4 nights a week after gigs, slept in all night, and the only thing wrong is the headband has lost some of its grip, but this just means I can now swing them onto my head (using the swing's momentum to widen the cups) whilst I have a coffee in the other hand. The fact that a few minutes later when I fall asleep, the coffee will be in my lap, and the headphones will hit the wall behind me at 300MPH, is neither here nor there!

You know what? They still sound good too. Sure they haven't the frequency range, noise cancelling, radio/alarm clock with built-in toilet roll holder and ashtray of the others, but these are what, 20 quid? As I said from the outset, maybe when my pair were made, the worker had ten minutes to kill before home time and decided to have fun and build a super special pair - Steve Gad proof - using components from the high end range. Who knows?

Audio purists and armchair rock stars will no doubt cite their technical shortcomings (and if yours arrived damaged, or faulty I feel for you) but as a lifelong working musician, all I want is stuff that does the job I want them to do. Nothing more. Bose Quiet Comfort 15 they most certainly aren't, but as functional headphones, plugged into a laptop in the wee small hours, listening to music or having David Ike send me to the land of nod with a head full of far out ideas, they do what it says on the tin - and they do it well too!

Microphone Popscreen 4" / 100mm
Microphone Popscreen 4" / 100mm
Offered by In21 Direct
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good all in all, 5 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Microphone Popscreen 4" / 100mm
There isn't a lot to say about a pop screen, as it's not exactly high-tech and has few moving parts. This one was fairly well made and my only gripe is that the rubber pads in the clasp tend to come away from the unit if you have to move it (as most would from time to time) to a different position on the mic stand. This has left me having to Gaffer tape it to the stand for recording and although not a major headache, its something I'd much rather not have to do.

Bottom Line: Pretty good for price, but ought to come with with replacement clasp pads.

Line 6 POD Studio UX1 Guitar Interface
Line 6 POD Studio UX1 Guitar Interface
Offered by Jb's Music Store
Price: £99.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for the price, 5 Feb. 2013
I bought this for a quick, low cost interface, which I used to connect a laptop to my amp for playing live backing tracks. For this job it worked fine and setting up is fairly painless. Used for a guitar I'd say a DI box is probably a must as the signal to my recording software was almost non-existent. I also ran into problems as soon as I wanted to use it to record a vocal, as this one has no Phantom power and at the time I was unaware of the UX2 (which has Phantom) so I wasn't happy to find out that little gem.

In all fairness, maybe i should have done a little more research, but at the price the UX1 isn't too bad as long as you're aware of its limitations. On the plus side, it does come with quite a bit of software and the Line 6 host programs make keeping up to date with drivers and software updates really simple. The unit came with POD Farm and Gearbox, which contain an impressive range of amp models and settings that are laid out on screen in a way that you simply drag what you need from a rotating shelf into the virtual "room" and chain stuff together in any combination you like. You can even drag amps, cabinets and mic's as far away in the room as you want and this is quite a fun thing to mess around with.
Once you have things set up as you like, you simply name and save the room and as I already said, this is actually a nice touch to be able to see the gear on screen and drag stuff around.

The line outs work well for use as a through port from laptop to amplifier (for DJ's for example) so if you have a computer that isn't too hot - speed wise - and you want to take the sound workload away from the PC, and leave the computer free to run virtual DJ or whatever, then this is a low cost solution that works very well. I had it on the table in front of me at gigs and could easily control the output from one of the two main rotary controls on the top of the unit.

Right out of the box the first thing you notice is how light this thing is, and as it is made of plastic it lends a kind of cheap feel to it, although the knobs and connections are fairly solid.
I should have gone for the UX2 - owning a condenser Mic - although the mic input does work well with a dynamic microphone (I use a Shure SM58) you still need phantom power to use most condenser microphones. Ins and outputs are fairly adequate and set up correctly it isn't really noisy, hiss and hum wise. Setting up is quick, as is updating drivers.
For the budget end of the shelf, it does well at what it is made for and the software bundle is quite impressive. If this unit had Phantom power, like its bigger brother, then I'd have been very happy indeed. My first Line 6 purchase and all in all fairly decent apart from lack of Phantom power and the plastic case.

Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone
Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone
Offered by London In Uk
Price: £88.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The standard for musicians, 28 Mar. 2011
I have been using the SM58 for many years and still have one I bought in the early 90's. You can drop them, drive over them and generally forget having to tread lightly in a live situation. These things are built like a tank, constructed to last and give many years of great service. Bear in mind, the SM57 IS the SM58 with a different gauze head. whether mic used for capturing instruments from amps, or for vocal work, these are a hard act to follow.
I certainly wouldn't use anything else for live work, although I have several condensers too.
A good investment.

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire [DVD]
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lyall B. Watson
Price: £7.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Well execute and informative, 15 Dec. 2010
This series of programs, documenting the various Caesars, gives a good coverage of the changing Empire and its rulers, from Caesar's dictatorship, through various key periods in the Empire's history. The dramatization is very well done and well cast too - with Michael Sheen's Nero being spellbinding to watch - and the documentary style narrative lends both weight and detail to the drama.
I'd recommend this for anyone wanting the basic outline of the why's and wherefor's of ancient Rome, but if you're looking for minuscule detail, or in-depth narrative, you won't find it here.
What you will find though is very entertaining and informative, worthy of repeated viewings. It certainly resides in pride of place on my history program shelf. You'll like it too.

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume - 5
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume - 5

12 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon are first class in every respect, 12 Nov. 2010
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Being a long time Amazon customer and never having had a single bad experience, I simply had to say that their offer of such classic works as this, free of charge, is yet another reason that I make Amazon my very first port of call when shopping online.
Everyone is familiar with this particular work I'm sure, but not everyone knows what a wonderful, user-friendly service Amazon provides and this, again, is reason to smile in such gloomy economic times.
Thanks Amazon.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2012 11:54 AM BST

Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley
Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley
by Timothy White
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously written., 23 Jun. 2009
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Mr White obviously had a lot of love in his heart for both Bob Marley and Jamaica, making this book a must read for Marley fans, or anyone interested in the roots of Reggae music. The only shame here is that as the author is no longer with us, so I am unable to write to congratulate him on a work so thoroughly researched and meticulously updated.
Five stars all across the board for style, content and the sheer labour of love this work so obviously is.

The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles
The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles
by Peter Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 27 May 2009
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Like many Beatle fans, owning most of the books, I thought I'd heard it all before. After all, how many ways is there to tell a story like this one? I have to say that I found Peter Brown's book to be a good read, and i did actually enjoy reading something by one of the people who were actually there (and not too stoned to remember!) rather than the usual mish mash of speculation, half-truths and re-heated decades old interviews.

Of course, we know the story, and there's not a lot of new stuff. Having said that, lights DO get shone into corners that other books haven't dared to look into, and for that I'm glad I bought this book.

Exspect EX080 iPod Touch 2G Luxury Leather Protective Case - Black
Exspect EX080 iPod Touch 2G Luxury Leather Protective Case - Black
Offered by UK Surplus Central Ltd
Price: £5.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 27 May 2009
I was going to get the flip open wallet type case, but I only case my IPod Touch when I am either out walking, or listening to it in bed. So, both being vulnerable situations I went for this particular 'All round protection' type case.

It's a very well made leather case, neatly and strongly stitched at the edges, with earphone access in the bottom of the case. The fit is very snug - so snug in fact, that you will certainly need to use the clever little pull tag to get it out of the case. For the first few uses, getting it out of its cosy little home takes a strong and careful pull, but I see this as a good point, adding to the protection factor by not allowing the IPod to move at all. I would recommend pulling it by the edges, rather than the front face and back, until the case beds in a little, as the fit really is tight.

The pull tag is very smart, and retracts as you shove the IPod down into the case, making everything very neat and streamlined. I'd most certainly recommend this to anyone who - like myself - wouldn't like to roll onto the screen when falling asleep, or wants to eliminate any chance of keys, coins etc, scratching the screen whilst in a pocket. Any case with a flap on it runs the risk of allowing foreign bodies to get to the screen, and despite being unable to access the screen while cased, this is a beautiful thing.

Now I can drop it and roll on it to my heart's content, with no risk of damage.Buy one, you won't be disappointed.

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