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Rockburn Vintage ST Style Electric Guitar - Opal White
Rockburn Vintage ST Style Electric Guitar - Opal White

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Honest mistake or intentionally misleading; either way, don't fall for it., 19 Dec 2013
As others have pointed out, this product is by "Rockburn", a Chinese company that makes cheap guitars.

As cheap guitars go, they're actually not bad; I have one of their LP-alike models, which is great for having lying around without worrying about it getting bashed about a bit.

However, nearly all of of Rockburn's models retail for around the £100 mark; they're definitely in the 'first beginner's budget guitar' market segment.

So even though it's impossible to tell whether this item's price is an honest typo, or just hoping to capitalise on someone assuming that a guitar selling for £1000 has to be worth £1000, this item needs downrating this to make sure that nobody makes the mistake.

Sharkoon 8-Bay Raid Station External Enclosure for Hard Drives
Sharkoon 8-Bay Raid Station External Enclosure for Hard Drives
Price: £330.91

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small, sturdy, and pretty, but inflexible, pricey and a little thirsty., 11 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Sharkoon 8-Bay Raid Station is a very nice product indeed. It's smaller than I had expected: the photos made it look as if it would be the same size as a computer enclosure, but in reality it's significantly smaller.

First, the good points: it's well-built and looks pretty. The piano-black metal is covered in a plastic film that's a little fiddly to remove, but once this is done, it looks great. Installation of the drives into the caddies is a doddle.

All screws and cables (USB 3.0 and eSATA) are provided, which is a plus.

Now the bad points: Despite billing itself as a "Raid Station", its RAID levels are limited. Specifically, it can offer a bunch of single disks (JBOD), a virtual "single large disk" with no redundancy, and two RAID levels.

However, these RAID levels are quite limited. There's one that they call RAID 30 (two 4-drive arrays, each with one dedicated parity drive, concatenated into a larger RAID 0 array) and another one they call RAID 50 (two 4-drive arrays with distributed parity, concatenated into a larger RAID 0 array).

The problem with either of these is that each subarray only offers one drive's worth of protection: you can lose two drives in the array, as long as they are in different halves. If you lose two drives in the same subarray, you lose everything.

I would have expected at least RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10 to be offered, since different people have different requirements (for example, RAID 50 "loses" 2 drives, but it's slower and offers better redundancy; RAID 10 loses 4 drives, but is faster and offers more redundancy).

Another problem is that the JBOD option only works over USB or with an eSATA port with port multiplier capability, which most motherboards don't have, not even recent AMD chipsets that tend otherwise to be very capable.

I had purchased an additional eSATA card with port multiplier support for around £20 (specifically, a 2 Port PCI Express eSATA Controller Adapter Card) and ended up using software-based RAID6 under Linux using mdadm. This means that I can lose any two drives in the array without data loss.

This setup works exceptionally well: the eSATA card was recognised out of the box and gave me eight new /dev/sdX entries, which I was able to set up with no trouble at all. Software-based RAID 6 is surprisingly fast: I get around 30Mb/s write speed, and it has so far been rock solid.

It's worth mentioning that, unbelievably, USB 3.0 is actually fast enough to use software-based RAID 6, but this turned out to be rather unreliable: under heavy load, the device would time out every couple of days.

Lastly, the power consumption. It's not terrible, but nor is it that great: the whole array, populated with 3TB NAS drives, draws around 70W. If you're paying 0.30 per kWh, like I am, that adds up quite quickly.

The RRP currently claims to be £340. I got mine from Amazon for £280, and even that was a little pricey, given that it's not a NAS device.

Due to the limitations of the RAID levels offered, I'm knocking off a star, but as long as you are able to find a mode of operation that works for you, and you can get it for the right price, it's a cracking little device.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2014 6:49 PM BST

Behringer A 500 - Amplifier - 2-channel - 250 Watts x 2
Behringer A 500 - Amplifier - 2-channel - 250 Watts x 2
Offered by Tektica
Price: £159.48

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of amplifier for a very little money; poor QA., 21 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this amplifier mostly as an amp for a pair of B215XL speakers. The speakers are outside the power range of this amplifier, but the additional speaker headroom isn't a problem, and I wanted to have the option of purchasing a second A500 and running them both in bridged mode, one per channel.

Note that the B215XL is a PA speaker, not a hifi speaker, so I can't comment on the audiophile properties of the amp. Others have subjected this amp to various measurements and have come to the conclusion that its THD is slightly higher than the manufacturer's claims (0.025% rather than 0.01%), but that it does have an incredibly flat frequency response.

The amplifier is reassuringly heavy. The massive toroidal transformer is visible through the cooling grille, with the two independent amplifier circuits mounted vertically at either end of the case. The on/off switch feels solid and reliable; the volume knobs less so, but they still have a nice gentle "click" action between discrete volume levels, which makes matching the channel levels easier.

The amp was able to drive the speakers to antisocial levels around the "60% volume" point; I had no need or desire to try any further, so I can't comment on the performance of the amplifier when pushed to its limits.

Now on to the bad point: my amplifier came with channel 1 non-functional. Luckily, I had read two other reviews here that mentioned the same problem, and mentioned that it was a disconnected internal wire.

This proved to be the case with my amp as well!

The cover is easy to remove. Note that there is NO "warranty void if removed" sticker, and the overload fuses are inside the case, so I believe that the cover is indeed designed to be removable by the end user, which is why it's so easy.

There are 6 screws on the top side and 2 screws through each of the heatsinks, near the top edge. If you look carefully, you can see where the top panel "bends" through 90 degrees when it reaches the edge to mate with the side screws. After removing these screws, lift the cover from the rear edge, and it should lift out easily.

In my case, the fault was obvious: two thick wires from the toroidal power supply to the circuit board had become disconnected. They were connected via a moulded white nylon connector, much like you get on computer motherboards, so it was trivial to reconnect (if you're in any doubt, you can compare with the identical hardware on the other channel).

When replacing the cover, slide the front edge under the front bezel first, then lay the back edge into position.

After this minor fix, both channels work fine. However, the fact that (at least) 3 reviewers have had this problem does make you think that there's something wrong with the QA, hence the 3 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2013 11:52 AM BST

Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset
Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset
Price: £18.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TL;DR: Works perfectly in Linux, good build quality, much too bassy., 2 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These headphones are almost, but not quite, perfect. As much as I disapprove of Microsoft's business practices, they have a long history of making (or rebranding) good quality hardware, and this is no exception.

First the good parts.

The headphones are sturdy, reasonably comfortable, and the headband is stiff but not too bulky. The little wires connecting the headphone cans are tucked away in the hinges, removing one common failure point. The boom microphone rotates smoothly instead of in discrete "clicks", which is both handier and quieter for the person at the far end of a call.

The USB cable is generously long and thicker than that of your average USB peripheral. This does make the cable a bit "stiffer" and "heavier" than usual, but it gives the impression that it'll last for a while.

The microphone quality is as good as it gets for headsets: clear and crisp, with (as you would expect) not a hint of mains interference and a low noise floor. It's never going to be usable as a studio mic, but then again, that's not the aim.

The device worked out of the box under Linux (64-bit Ubuntu 11.10); even the little "up" and "down" volume buttons on the control panel mid-wire worked. No drivers needed, nothing, just open the audio preferences and select the device as the input and output device. The USB id, for anyone interested, is 045e:070f.

Now the bad part: the headphones overemphasise the bass. I know that this is a bit of a "selling point" for some, but it does mean that whereas VOIP is OK, listening to music is something of a hit and miss affair. Certain tracks become almost unbearable because of this, especially music that has a crisp bass line to start with (for example, "Radio Ga-Ga"), and even my old cheapo Trust headset has flatter bass response than these.

(I know what the music "should" sound like because I'm using a pair of £300 studio-grade Sennheisers driven by a studio-grade USB-enabled Behringer audio interface as reference).

So in short, unless you're going to be using these to listen to music for hours and hours, they're a lot of headset for an incredibly low price.

PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
Price: £5.95

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but note that this is not an antiperspirant, 30 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'd like to say a few things about this product.

First of all, it's great: I've been using it daily for around 5 years, and it really does give all round protection; I no longer get whiffs of underarm and think "Gosh, I really need a shower", which was always the case before with other products. I also prefer the fact that it is odourless; other products always had a nasty chemical smell lingering under the fake fragrance.

However, note the this is NOT an antiperspirant: the reviews that talk about "maybe sweating too much" and "sweat breaking through", or "staying dry" are giving this products attributes that it does not have. An antiperspirant contains an agent (typically aluminium-based) that clogs the pores of the underarm, preventing the egress of sweat.

PitRok (and all other "crystal"-style deodorants) don't stop the egress of sweat, but instead have a bacteriostatic action: they kill the bacteria that thrive on the sweat and whose waste products are the source of unpleasant body odour. In other words, you will still sweat just as much, but you will not smell.

Bear in mind that since this product acts on bacterial colonies, it is slow to start and slow to wear off: you might need a couple of days to see the effect kick in, but if you ever have to skip a day, you won't start smelling immediately.

Lastly, you can get much better value for money by buying one of these and one of the PitRok "spray" products and simply refilling the spray product with chips of this, crushed with a hammer. The spray products are just a few millilitres of water containing a few grammes of the rock salt. One of these can keep the spray product replenished for at least a couple of years.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2013 10:32 AM BST

Rockburn Complete PA System 150W
Rockburn Complete PA System 150W
Price: £177.10

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Other reviewer is correct: No Speakers!, 3 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The other reviewer is correct: this product is amp only, no speakers, despite the product description at time of purchase saying "Speaker Count: 2", and showing multiple photographs of the speakers.

When I raised this issue with Amazon, I received the following reply:

"On checking our records, I can see that this item 'Rockburn Complete PA System 150W' includes only amplifier. I regret that the item information is misleading on our web page.

We build our website information from many sources, and we really appreciate knowing about any errors or issues that have been overlooked. I have forwarded your message to the relevant department so that this item's details can be amended correctly."

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